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STUDENT SPOTLIGHT – RYAN ‘IGGY’ HARRISON


With a name like Iggy, you are certain to find a unique and special individual. UH Information Technology’s Ryan “Iggy” Harrison certainly lives up to that expectation.

Iggy, a 6’2” San Antonio native, earned his nickname way back in elementary school when he was the tallest person in his class. He always hunched over to talk and hear his classmates so his friends began calling him “Igor” after the fictional hunch-backed assistant. The name soon turned to the more endearing “Iggy” and has stuck with him ever since.

Iggy, currently a Management Information Systems junior, spent the majority of his childhood in Katy, Texas and joined the UIT team as a student worker in August 2011. He found the job through his professor Dr. Michael Parks who recommended him to the department. He has been working with web developer and server administrator Ryan Reynolds on account management.

Iggy came to the University of Houston in Fall 2009 to pursue his degree after spending time serving his country as a member of the Army.

“I’ve always been one to go against the flow of popularity and everyone said the next step was college. I didn’t really want to do that plus I had a speeding ticket I didn’t know what to do about so I went to an Army recruiter and asked him for help.”

The recruiter drove him to the police station so Iggy could pay the fine and then he signed up for duty. He did his basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri and spent most of his service stationed in Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. While with the Army, Iggy did 17 parachute jumps. He said he was very nervous and apprehensive before his first jump.

“They like to make sure everyone gets off the plane. Once you get to the door, you’re going out,” he said. “But it’s really calm and peaceful as you’re drifting down.”

During his service, Iggy was first a communications analyst and then moved into satellite communications. He spent a year-long tour in Iraq and a six month tour in Afghanistan.

“I’m glad to have done it. The friends I’ve made will be lifelong,” Iggy said.

After the Army, Iggy worked as contractor for General Dynamics in San Antonio on Fort Sam Houston. During his first year, he did general service desk work for 6th Army – Southern Operations (South America). The second year, he administered a mobile, satellite communications package for the brand new 6th Army – North Operations (US, Canada, Mexico). While with 6th Army, Iggy served a key role in Operation Lightning Archer, the first joint operation between local law enforcement, border patrol, federal agencies and the military. Iggy said it is one of his proudest achievements but was extremely stressful. Immediately after Lightning Archer, he was diagnosed with appendicitis and was rushed to emergency surgery. Once he had recovered, he and his wife decided to move back to Houston to be closer to her family.

Iggy and his wife Shannon met the day he first signed up for the Army. They were married in October 2006 on the anniversary of their first date. The couple was on a Rio Grande rafting trip during Columbus Day weekend. While they were on the raft, the couple discovered their river guide named “Catfish” was an ordained minister. When they stopped for lunch, Catfish agreed to marry them and performed the ceremony on the banks of the Rio Grande. Six years later, the couple now has a 2 ½ year old son named Jacob, after Iggy’s late best friend from high school.

While raising his family and attending school, Iggy is also a member of several student groups including the Management Information System Student Organization (MISSO), Video Game Nights and a new group he is helping to start up called the Secular Students Alliance.

“The primary goal of the Secular Students Alliance is to discuss and promote awareness of secular activities and laws that should no longer apply,” he said.

Iggy expects to graduate in Spring 2013 and plans to move the family to Dallas so Shannon can further her nursing education. They then hope to move to Virginia to settle down where he has friends from the military who are ready to assist him in the relocation and is aiming for a federal career. Iggy also has a few stories to tell and hopes to one day write a book about his comical experiences in the military.